These last few weeks have been really crazy and confusing and draining and painful, in so many ways that I’m certain I won’t even think to detail all of them here.
Phil and Reed and I have all been taking turns being sick, with stomach problems and back problems and colds and flu and allergies and asthma and sliced-open thumbs and slipped discs. WE HAVE BEEN A BARREL OF MONKEYS, I tell you, and I am praying that perhaps now we can be well for a bit. There is nothing more exhausting and sad than taking care of a sick kid, except maybe taking care of a sick kid when you’re sick too.
Reed started kindergarten, and with it karate, and it’s been so exciting. It is so weird to drive him up to the front of the elementary school each morning and drop him off, watch him pause to turn around and wave, and then run inside by himself.
His teacher is very pretty and very young and very enthusiastic. She is, however, an Auburn fan, but I forgive her because she has such great hair. She wears super-high wedges with a belt that matches the straps and she always looks fresh and excited and, y’all, THE HAIR IS FANTASTIC, long and wavy and always perfect.
In school Reed has a different “special” every day- music, computer lab, art, library, and free play, and the music teacher has already emailed me to tell me how sweet Reed is and how glad she is to have him in her class. Also, his regular teacher told me one day in a very serious tone that Reed is one the most “meticulous” students she’s ever witnessed.
I can tell you myself that Reed has certainly turned out to be an Agan; “actually” is one of his favorite words, following in the footsteps of his articulate older brother. He does this thing where you explain something to him, and he says “Okay, SO, what you’re saying is..” and then repeats everything you just told him. If that’s not Kane, I don’t know what is. He also just started swimming without swimmies, and jumping into the pool with so much abandon that I hardly recognize him as the kid who, only a few weeks ago, would only enter the pool by gingerly going down the steps. He’s loosing teeth and getting big-boy hair cuts and getting himself dressed and washing his own hair. HE TURNS SIX IN THREE MONTHS, PEOPLE.
This life is weird, and I gave up a long time ago trying to keep up or stay ahead of things. It’s one day at a time around here, and sometimes I even have to cut it further down, coach myself into just toughing out the next hour, or the next ten minutes.
Phil and I persevere by goofing off together, watching movies and playing cards. The card-playing has become our standard time-passer, and there are few ways I’d rather spend the evening, once I’ve gotten Reed settled in with a movie or supper, than sitting together on our patio playing rummy and listening to music.
I read a tweet from Dooce today, or yesterday maybe, that said September is a particularly hard time for people with depression, and it made me think not just of myself but of a lot of people I love. September is an odd time; fall starts rolling in- perhaps somewhat slowly here in the South- and the days get shorter and you see your friends a bit less because people are buckling down, not quite as carefree as during the summer.
A particularly challenging problem for me right now is the loss of a very close friend, someone I’ve loved and trusted, asked for help, offered help, leaned on, let lean on me. I’m finding myself thinking I was just asking for it the whole time; I’m one of 6 people she has stolen prescription medication from, sometimes in large amounts, and she’s stolen them from ME twice before this time. Every time it’s happened I’ve called her on it, told her how hurt and mad it made me. Every time I’ve thought, okay, that’s it, we can’t be friends any more. But then I end up missing her so badly, wanting to talk to her about my day or about something funny I read or heard.
This particular friend is someone that I connect with on such a deep and organic level that the experience of trying to control myself, keep myself from talking to her feels like cutting out a relationship with a sister. This is someone who knew me before Jason, during Jason, and now with Phil. I have told her all of my secrets, let her in on every aspect of my life, fought for her with other people whose trust didn’t regrow like mine did.
The other times that I’ve discovered that she’s taken things from me I’ve told her how mean and unacceptable it is, how she could just ASK for these pills and I would give them to her, but to just find them missing is so hurtful, such a bizarre and unexpected betrayal, so disrespectful and shitty.
A particularly painful aspect of the entire experience is knowing that she knows how difficult things have been for me lately. She knows that life has been precarious and scary, and still thinks it’s okay to sneak into my medicine cabinet and take 11 oxycontin (out of 14) and 2 morphine pills (out of 2) without asking. And let me make it clear: the oxycontin were prescribed to Phil for a slipped disc, and the morphine were given to him when he nearly cut his thumb OFF of his hand, and he just never took them. In the past it’s been Ambien I was prescribed for sleep, Lortabs I was prescribed for a severe throat infection. Point is, we don’t have this stuff for recreation, we have it for legitimate health problems, and this person who I have frequently given rides to or bought beer and cigarettes for, not to mention given a place to stay, came into my house and went through our medicine cabinet and took our medicine and put them in her pocket before giving me a hug, telling me she loved me, and leaving. It is fucked up.
I also want to make clear that I am very aware that I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I make people mad. I hurt people’s feelings. I am absolutely certain that there have been times when this girl needed me, or wanted to go out, or wanted to talk, and I wasn’t there for her. But no matter how many terrible things I try to think up that I may or may not have done, I can’t come up with a reason that makes me think, “Well, in THAT case, she should have stolen from me. 3 times.”
I can’t really articulate, can’t really completely explain how I feel about all this. For the first week I was really just pissed off. Now it’s devolved into sadness, an intense pain in my gut knowing that I am just a total idiot, that I should have seen this coming, that our friendship was this disposable to her. I feel thrown away and worthless. I feel heartbroken that it didn’t matter to her that it would hurt me.
Since then, she and I haven’t talked. I spent several days trying to decide what to do, how to confront her. I finally decided that even if she admitted what she’d done and apologized, it wouldn’t help, since this isn’t the first time she’s done this, and it isn’t the first time she’s gotten caught. Then she started to post to Facebook- pictures of a new laptop, new clothes, posts about spending $60 on nail polish and shampoo and getting a new phone. I lost my temper and posted on her page that I hoped she enjoyed the medicine. We still haven’t talked. She hasn’t bothered to deny or admit or scoff or cuss or anything at all.
Keep in mind that for several years now this has been a girl who can’t buy her own gas, beer, cigarettes, food, sodas, and suddenly she’s buying a MacBook Pro and new clothes and make up. It just feels insulting, hurtful, mean, and a hundred other words I’ve probably either written here or whined over the past week.
Bottom line is now is the time when I have to move on, but it’s just so hard to do when this girl has been one of the first people I tell ANYTHING to. There are about a million different tv shows and movies that make me think of her, not to mention about 2 million songs, and before this happened I’d text her any time I was thinking of her. I find myself picking up my phone and putting it back down about a hundred times a day. I thought that she loved me and respected me, needed me, wanted to be my friend, but I’m not sure how to think that considering what she’s done.
So, this is September for me. I’m trying to remember to enjoy Reed and Phil and my life, while grieving a huge loss, one that hurts worse because she chose this.